Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fan Appreciation Day at the Track

It was fan appreciation day at Turf Paradise Saturday 20 April.  The weather was perfect, sunny, in the upper 80s, and the track isn’t that far from where I live.  Turf Paradise is a very customer-centered business, so I knew I’d get cheap beer, great hot dogs, and photo opportunities. 

On this day, they had a spot on the track apron for some of the jockeys to sign autographs and get their photos taken.  There were some interesting faces here.  One thing I would have done differently was to take my flash with me for fill, but thankfully Lightroom 4 has a shadows slider that can take care of some of those nasty Arizona shadows. 

For the close up portraits, I used my brand new Canon 17-40mm “L” class lens with my Canon 5D Mark III.  For the track shots from up above in stands, I used a Canon 70-300mm “L” lens with the same 5D body.  For some of the shots I took from across the track, I did some cropping but could get away with that because of the 22 megapixel full frame sensor on the 5D.  I think next time I’ll bring out my big boy Tamron 200-500mm lens.  That one is a heavy weight so I might have to bring my monopod. 

That’s all for now,

And happy shooting!

Jim Patterson

Here are all the photos from fan appreciation day from Flickr

Sunday, April 14, 2013

North Valley Relay for Life 12 April 2013

I volunteered to photograph the North Valley Relay for Life, a fundraising activity for the American Cancer Society once again at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Volunteering as a photographer is a great way to give back.  I find it fun to share my talent and help a good cause.  I also feel I get just a little bit better every time I do one of these events.

The relay started in the late afternoon, so I had some golden hour lighting left, but I also had some harsh shadows to contend with.  At times I filled with a bit of flash.  I also found the “shadow” slider on Lightroom 4 to be invaluable in recovering faces in severe shading.  Below, I caught a couple from KZON 101.5 with that lovely light.

As it got darker, then the decision was to turn up the ISO and not use flash or use a wee bit of flash turned down to light subjects but keep the background dark.  One of the highlights of the all-night event was the lighting of the luminarias and the walk around the track first by the cancer
survivors.  I had done this type of photography before and decided it best to turn off my flash and work with the light off the candles, turning up my ISO to 3200 (I shot with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 24-105mm lens).  The 5D Mark III does a heck of a job with high ISO!  I worked with an F stop of 4 and was usually in the 1/20th to 1/30th range for shutter speed, all hand held.  Even five years ago the technology was not there to do this, so I am thankful I was packing the 5D.  

Being that this is a charitable event, I am not charging for my photographs.  So after editing, I uploaded from Lightroom into my professional Zenfolio site at  I gave the event coordinators instructions on how to download any of the photos they’d like to use.  All I want is credit. 

My next photo adventure will be mid-May when I travel to Denver to do some macro photography with Canon

Until then, Happy Shooting!

Jim Patterson

Here is a slideshow of all the photos I took at the North Valley Relay for Life